World Health Organization (WHO)

Mental Health Specialist

World Health Organization (WHO)

Job Description

  The Department's mission is to promote mental health, and human rights for all across the lifespan; to prevent harmful use of alcohol and other substances, to prevent mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders; and to reduce the mortality, morbidity and disability for persons with MNS disorders and associated psychosocial, cognitive and intellectual disabilities. Objectives a. To promote care, recovery and the human rights of people with mental, neurological and substance use (MNS) disorders and associated disabilities, b. To increase access to affordable, good quality services and supports for people with MNS disorders and associated disabilities, their families and communities within the context of UHC and across the life-course, c. To include care for people with MNS disorders and associated disabilities in Emergency responses for immediate relief and to build back better, d. To prevent suicide, MNS disorders, harm due to alcohol and other substances, and addictive behaviours, across the life course.


Provide technical leadership and managerial support to the work program in the area of mental health, ensuring that the activities in this area are carried out efficiently and effectively.Lead support to Member States and relevant WHO Offices as requested, and coordinate the development of national strategies and policies through authoritative policy advice and recommendations on plan of action for improvements in the existing health systems for mental health; act as a technical Advisor at the senior counterpart level and the public concerning mental health.Oversee, as requested, in in-country activities concerning Mental Health Care, mental health promotion, prevention of mental health conditions, and mental health data.Initiate and coordinate implementation of new mental health actions and guidance for interventions in high-risks groups and environments, and provide technical supervision in the development, testing and/or dissemination of major WHO and inter-agency normative guidance and tools in mental healthSupport WHO senior staff in providing leadership in mental health with Member States, UN agencies and Non-State Actors and support WHO's efforts to advocate for mental health.Promote or conduct the implementation of mental health research. Oversee the Analysis and synthesis of data on mental health conditions and their consequences, and on mental health care, mental health promotion and prevention of mental health conditions and on the implementation of mental health cation strategies and action plans, and lead the preparation of high level reports.Organize Capacity Building in mental health, across the different levels of the health and social care system. Advocate with counterparts in technical departments at HQ and in Regional and Country Offices, and negotiate with donor and development partners (UN and bilateral) to harmonize policies and strategies related to mental health.Lead, if requested, WHO's response to mental health in one or more emergencies.Coordinate the development and monitoring of work plans and budgets including resource mobilization for the work programme and follow up on the implementation of planned activities.Oversee contractual engagements with partners and institutions.Perform all other related duties as assigned.Advance the objectives and implementation of the WHO Special Initiative for Mental Health (2019-2023): Universal Health Coverage for Mental Health and the WHO Comprehensive Mental Health Action Plan 2013-2030 at global and national levels through strategic planning, system assessment and Economic Analysis of mental health service and resource needs.Develop approaches, opportunities and partnerships for the integration of mental health into other Disease Prevention and control programmes, primary health care and universal health coverage, including enhanced service access and financial protection strategies.Provide expert advice, guidance, and support to the WHO Special Initiative on Mental Health, including investment case and costing analyses and the application of health systems and outcomes research methods to programme implementation, monitoring and evaluationPerform all other related duties as assigned.



Essential: Advanced university degree relevant to mental health (e.g., specialization in public mental health, clinical or counselling psychology, psychiatry, mental health/psychiatric nursing, mental health/psychiatric social work, mental health economics, medical anthropology, psychiatric epidemiology).

Desirable: A doctorate in one of the above-mentioned fields


Essential: At least 10 years of progressively responsible professional experience in mental health focusing on mental health system strengthening and programmes, , as well as developing mental health strategies for the prevention and care of mental health conditions and promotion of mental health.Within this experience demonstrated professional experience working at the country and/or regional level providing technical advice and services to Ministry of Health/Member States and other partners on mental health related issues. Experience managing complex projects. Demonstrated experience at the international level.

Desirable: In-depth experience of mental health system planning, financing and evaluation in low- and middle-income countries.


In-depth knowledge of and expertise in technical aspects of field of specialty (mental health system strengthening in the context of universal health coverage, including health systems governance, financing and surveillance.) In depth knowledge of country level situations with regard to mental health with good understanding of country needs, priorities and policies in mental health, along with WHO's policies, practices, and guidelines and in the related areas. Ability to identify issues, formulate opinions, make conclusions and recommendations.Ability to review and revise policies and objectives of assigned program and activities.Interpersonal skills using tact, patience and courtesy.Public speaking techniques.Excellent drafting and communication skills.Commitment to implementing the goal of gender equality by ensuring the equal participation and full involvement of women and men in all aspects of work. Leadership and management skills.

WHO Competencies

Teamwork Respecting and promoting individual and cultural differences Communication Creating an empowering and motivating environment Driving the Organization's Position in Health Leadership

Use of Language Skills

Essential: Expert knowledge of English.

Desirable: Intermediate knowledge of French.


WHO salaries for staff in the Professional category are calculated in US dollars. The remuneration for the above position comprises an annual base salary starting at USD 89,837 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance, as applicable), a variable post adjustment, which reflects the cost of living in a particular duty station, and currently amounts to USD 6693 per month for the duty station indicated above. Other benefits include 30 days of annual leave, allowances for dependent family members, home leave, and an education grant for dependent children.


  • This vacancy notice may be used to fill other similar positions at the same grade level
  • Only candidates under serious consideration will be contacted.
  • A written test may be used as a form of screening.
  • In the event that your candidature is retained for an interview, you will be required to provide, in advance, a scanned copy of the degree(s)/diploma(s)/certificate(s) required for this position. WHO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU)/United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed through the link: Some professional certificates may not appear in the WHED and will require individual review.
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